SPRINGFIELD -- State Park Officials are giving citizens the chance to voice opinions on the fate of the parks.
Judy Dasovich is a member of the Missouri Sierra Club, and she says that revenue is a big reason to keep parks is because of all the economic benefits brought by park visitors. In 2016, 20 million people went to Missouri State parks.
"They rent motel rooms, they rent canoes, they eat at the local restaurants. On the Department of Natural Resources' website there is a study that shows, for every dollar we spend on parks, $26 returns to the local economy," Dasovich explains.
The state parks being considered for sale are Jay Nixon State Park, Bryant Creek, and Ozark Mountain State Park in Branson.
Jeff Romines grew up in the area of Jay Nixon State Park in Reynolds County. He believes selling them could be a positive thing, especially since the four parks were purchased for $8 million total in 2016.
"Why take on more if we don't have the funding to develop it, and to hire people?" Romines says.
He says it should really come down to how much money needs to be spent for the parks to reach their max potential.
"Do we have the funding in our state government to develop these parks?" Romines asks. "How long is it going to take to develop? Even if it's just to develop these parks, do we have the funding to employ the people to maintain the parks?"
With meetings taking place at those parks next week, State Park officials will give citizens a chance to make their voices heard. Dasovich expects most to want to keep the parks under state ownership.
"I will be surprised if there is anyone there who agrees with the Governor, we'll see," she says. "I know lots and lots of people who are going to protest the closings of the park. I have not heard of anyone who will think it is a great idea."
Those meetings will give people a chance to discuss make suggestions about what they think should be done with the property.
Meetings in our area will be held:
-Monday, December 4th, 6-8 P.M. - (Ozark Mountain State Park) - Dewey Short Visitor Center, 4500 State Highway 165, Branson, MO
-Tuesday, December 5th, 6-8 P.M. - (Bryant Creek State Park) - Ava Community Building, 109 N.E. 2nd St. Ava, MO
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